Planning a Trip
Tampa International Airport, approximately 16 miles northeast of St. Petersburg, is the prime gateway to the area. The primary carrier at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, on Roosevelt Boulevard (Fla. 686), about 10 miles north of downtown St. Petersburg (tel. 727/453-7800; www.fly2pie.com), is Allegiant; other carriers during the winter months include Canadian Air Transat (tel. 877/872-6728; www.airtransat.com). Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL [872-7245]; www.amtrak.com) has bus connections from its Tampa station to downtown St. Petersburg.
For advance information on St. Petersburg and the beaches, contact the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, 14450 46th St. N., Clearwater, FL 34622 (tel. 800/345-6710, or 727/464-7200 for hotel reservations; fax 727/464-7222; www.floridasbeach.com for information specific to the beaches).
After you arrive, you can head to the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, 100 2nd Ave. N. (at 1st St.), St. Petersburg (tel. 727/821-4069; fax 727/895-6326; www.stpete.com). Across the street from the BayWalk shopping-and-dining complex, this downtown main office and visitor center is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm, Saturday from 10am to 4pm, and Sunday from noon to 4pm. Ask for a copy of the chamber's visitor guide, which lists hotels, motels, condominiums, and other accommodations.
Also downtown, you'll find walk-in information centers on the first level of the Pier and in the lobby of the Florida International Museum. The chamber also operates the Suncoast Welcome Center (tel. 727/573-1449), on Ulmerton Road, at exit 31B southbound off I-275 (there's no exit here for northbound traffic). The center is open daily from 9am to 5pm except New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority/PSTA (tel. 727/530-9911; www.psta.net) operates regular bus service throughout St. Petersburg and the rest of the Pinellas Peninsula. Rides cost $1.75 for adults, 85¢ for seniors, and $1 for students.
If you need a cab, call Yellow Cab (tel. 727/821-7777) or Independent Cab (tel. 727/327-3444). Fares are $2.25 at flag fall, plus $2.50 for each additional mile.
Car Smarts -- You can spend a small fortune in a parking garage or by feeding the meters in St. Petersburg, or you can cut costs substantially by parking at the Pier ($3 all day) and taking the Looper, the city's trolley service, which operates between the Pier and all major downtown attractions.